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Saints line: Reasons for hope, concern

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; METAIRIE, La. -- The optimist and pessimist could have a pretty good debate over the state of the New Orleans Saints’ offensive line. True, it was a shakier-than-usual season for the Saints up front in 2013, with some early-season struggles ...

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Old 05-27-2014, 11:12 AM   #1
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METAIRIE, La. -- The optimist and pessimist could have a pretty good debate over the state of the New Orleans Saints’ offensive line.

True, it was a shakier-than-usual season for the Saints up front in 2013, with some early-season struggles in the middle of the line and some late-season struggles at left tackle.

However, the Saints’ line was playing its best at the end of the year, especially in the playoffs, offering some glimpses of hope for 2014.

Not only are the Saints counting on second-year left tackle Terron Armstead and center Tim Lelito to make big leaps in their sophomore seasons, but they’re also encouraged that longtime veterans like right tackle Zach Strief and Pro Bowl guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs showed steady improvement as the season went along.

“I think it got better, and I think there’s still plenty to work on,” Strief said last week, in advance of the start of OTAs today. “I think more than anything, we really got comfortable with what we were good at. The running plays that we were good at, we really just found 10 ways to run the same play, and that was real effective for us. And I think we’ll take some of that into next year knowing what this group in particular is good at.

“Not the group of (former Saints Jermon) Bushrod and Carl Nicks. Not the groups that we used to have that were good at certain things. Now there’s a new group, and we’re good at some other types of things. And I think we’re kind of figuring that out.”

Read more: Saints line: Reasons for hope, concern - New Orleans Saints Blog - ESPN

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Old 05-27-2014, 11:31 AM   #2
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Re: Saints line: Reasons for hope, concern

“The first game was bumpy for (Armstead), but I knew what he had,” said Grubbs, who will be planted between two relative newcomers this year at the left guard spot. “Just seeing him at practice when he first got to the Saints, I was like, ‘That guy is going to be a great player.’ When he got the opportunity, he took advantage of it. In the last three games he played lights out.”
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Old 05-27-2014, 11:54 AM   #3
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Re: Saints line: Reasons for hope, concern

With the exception of Brown, the Saints 2013 o-line woes were more scheme than personnel. Everyone was at least serviceable but the implementation of zone blocking or any change for a unit that is so well synchronized is expected to have an adjustment period. Brown was replaced and the end of the season showed an o-line that gelled with the new scheme at the end of the season.

I think it would face fared a lot better at the start of the season with either Brown or DLP but not both at the same time.
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:07 PM   #4
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Re: Saints line: Reasons for hope, concern

There is a serious lack of depth on the o-line. I'm hopeful but concerned.
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:41 PM   #5
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Re: Saints line: Reasons for hope, concern

I feel good about Lelito in the middle. Replacing one starter on the o-line isn't a huge deal, replacing two (if Strief hadn't come back) could've had potential for disaster.

I just hope the line is building on last rather than starting from scratch. Evans and Grubbs were both pretty terrible until about week 10 or 11. Need both those guys to be healthy, well-versed in the scheme and ready to go early this time.

I feel like we've been playing with fire on the o-line depth for a few years now. Harris is our only proven serviceable backup at any position. Welch is a veteran but he's played for 4 teams in 4 years. Some potential among the depth guys I suppose. Armstrong and Golic are my choices to make the team. Maybe Marcel Jones too if he can get his head out of his behind and play like he did two preseasons ago. Last year he was a disaster.
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:08 PM   #6
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Re: Saints line: Reasons for hope, concern

Originally Posted by Jack Vegas View Post
I feel good about Lelito in the middle. Replacing one starter on the o-line isn't a huge deal, replacing two (if Strief hadn't come back) could've had potential for disaster.

I just hope the line is building on last rather than starting from scratch. Evans and Grubbs were both pretty terrible until about week 10 or 11. Need both those guys to be healthy, well-versed in the scheme and ready to go early this time.

I feel like we've been playing with fire on the o-line depth for a few years now. Harris is our only proven serviceable backup at any position. Welch is a veteran but he's played for 4 teams in 4 years. Some potential among the depth guys I suppose. Armstrong and Golic are my choices to make the team. Maybe Marcel Jones too if he can get his head out of his behind and play like he did two preseasons ago. Last year he was a disaster.

Grubbs was terrible because of Brown. He was sometimes blocking for himself and Brown. Evans was terrible because he was injured until about wk 10 or 11. Not to mention they both had to help DLP block. So that was 3 people Grubbs was blocking and 2 people Evans was blocking. When Armstead went in Gubbs and Evans could both help DLP and block their own man.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:09 PM   #7
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Re: Saints line: Reasons for hope, concern

We could definitely use some depth on the O-line. After reading more I'm quite excited about Armstrong. We may not be at thin on the O-line as we think.
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:33 AM   #8
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Re: Saints line: Reasons for hope, concern

waiver wire baby is all we have left
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:57 PM   #9
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Re: Saints line: Reasons for hope, concern

It all starts with five guys up front. Take care of this need.
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